Amy Alonzo reports:
Lyon County School District’s compliance with a federal law that allows the district to release certain student information to outside parties has at least a few Lyon County parents and guardians upset.
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records but does not prevent the district from disclosing “directory” information such as a student’s name, date and place of birth, address and telephone number if that information is requested by certain groups. FERPA-approved groups include organizations conducting studies on behalf of the school, specified officials, state and local officials and parties connected to financial aid.
District Superintendent Wayne Workman said Lyon County also releases directory information to certain education-related groups, such as youth sports leagues and companies offering graduation caps and gowns.
But, since the district passed a policy in February outlawing the distribution of non-school related fliers and advertisements, the district has received an increase in requests for directory information, Workman said. The ban on distributing fliers came after the district faced threats of legal action by Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, which claimed its fliers were excluded from distribution because of its religious viewpoint.
Read more on Reno Gazette Journal.
Every year, some parents discover after the opt-out window closes, that they should have opted out of the district sharing directory information. And then they get aggravated and ask why it is opt-out instead of sharing being opt-in. Rinse. Repeat.
They are right, in my opinion, that sharing should be opt-in and not default with opt-out required. Because I will also bet you dollars to donuts that schools that release information under FERPA’s directory information provisions do not ensure that the parties receiving the information will secure it well or prevent misuse of the data. In fact, in most cases, the receiving parties likely do misuse the data or fail to protect it, but that’s just my bet.